Tag Archives: real life
I’d had wonderful plans for this SSM. I’ve not got a proper obs and gynae block until last thing in fifth year, and, although my SSM is supposed to be in gynae oncology, the timetable is really not too terribly busy and I had all these grand ideas that I’d try to at least see some of the routine gynae and go to an antenatal clinic and maybe try to get into a delivery. I thought that it might make me less likely to panic come next January. Of course, I’ve done none of those things and now find myself with a week to go and hand-in dates approaching. My flatmate and I had made all sorts of promises to ourselves about getting work done on Monday night, but between the snow and the twinkly twinkly lights that turned into making hot chocolate and watching The Holiday. It may not have been the most productive way to spend an evening, but it made us almost stupidly happy.
All good things must pause, though, and this weekend is time to knuckle down. I’m a quarter of the way into my first case report (of three), have nine journal articles on vulval carcinoma open on my laptop, and a scribble-covered notepad on my desk.
It’s not like I’ve never written 6000+ words in six days before…
Now playing: Glenn Close – With One Look from Sunset Boulevard
Just as I was getting to grips with the proper beginning of this year, along came December and with it came the Christmas holidays and the turning upside down of my world. I’d planned to spend a couple of weeks in Glasgow and possibly even to get some work done.
Instead, I spent much of last month dealing with the unexpected death of my much beloved grandfather.
He was 81 years old — had fought a lot of battles and had beaten all imaginable odds. He was a great man with a wicked sense of humour and a lot of love to give. He left us with a lot of laughs and a lot of good memories. He had more than his fair share of chronic conditions and as a result spent a great deal of time in and around hospitals, and he loved telling the people he met there that his eldest granddaughter was going to be a doctor.
It’s been a long and difficult month. I’ve been with my family for most of it and I wouldn’t have chosen to be anywhere else, but it’s good to be home and getting back to work and to feel that things are beginning to return to some kind of normality.
After getting my exam results, I needed to take some time to do something other than eat, sleep, live, breathe, and blog medicine. I might have insisted that this year I wasn’t going to neglect my life for the sake of my exams, but, as the hazy memories of a lovely Easter weekend faded and the days between it and the beginning of June started to race by, it still happened. I’d known for months that I would be missing a performance of Rossini’s Petite Messe Solenelle that was scheduled to take place on the night before Paper 1, so, because I wouldn’t be singing anyway, there were a few evenings when revision ended up taking precedence over choir practice, and then other things started to drop off the radar… In the end, the only non-academic commitment that I was keeping was on Sunday mornings, and even with that, on the last couple of weekends I was going into the library at the crack of dawn on a Sunday so that I could get an hour or two in before heading up to the cathedral.
So that’s where I’ve been for the last six weeks or so — recharging my batteries.
I’m still in Glasgow. I’ve cooked good food and spent time with friends and caught up on sleep and read books, and, after two years in the west of Scotland, finally found the time to go to Loch Lomond. This past fortnight I’ve been doing some very temporary work for the local bus company in a role that I’ve dubbed The Weirdest Job I’ve Ever Had — and I’m the girl who used to make her living from fixing boilers and unblocking toilets and providing condoms at three o’clock in the morning, so that’s saying a lot — but that job has now ended, so I’m hoping that my temp agency will find me something else soon. For a little while, it’s been nice to just be.
This week, I started to get excited about September. I had coffee with a friend who is just reaching the other end of third year, and talking to her has really made me begin to look forward to it. I’m starting to make plans for my junior elective and to think about what I might be able to do for my SSM next summer. I’m helping to write the Glasgow chapter for a new medical school admissions guide. If I don’t have any temp work for next week, I’m going to get in touch with my old VS tutor and ask if I can come sit in on clinic for a couple of days. It’s come to the point where I want to be a third year because I want to start doing third year, which, when compared to the frame of mind I was in in May, when I wanted to be a third year because I wanted second year to be over, is all the difference in the world.
My SSM is OVER!
Look, I was never expecting Drugs in Sport to be the thrill of a lifetime but it did look from the little blurb on the year website as though it would be reasonably busy while not being manic. I have had nothing to do. I’ve been in for perhaps an hour and a half a day, on the busy days. The assessment was based on a presentation and an essay, and for the first two weeks I hadn’t been given a title for either of them so couldn’t even do any reading. In the little blurb, it said that part of our assessment would be a lab report, but that was abolished and thank God for that — there were two labs, one that involved half an hour of being told how a flow cytometer works and one that involved watching a lab technician pipette some reagents into some test tubes and then put them into a centrifuge, and, bloody hell, I was a biomedical scientist, the value in me watching someone else use a pipette is so far non-existent that it begins to actually have a negative value.
The highlight was the lectures by Professor Hillis, who asks questions and is engaging and interested in his subject and the only thing that kept it from being a total loss.
The other ‘highlight’, awarded on the grounds of unintentional comedy, was the guy who was meant to give us a lecture on pharmacodynamics but unilaterally decided that that would be a waste of time and instead spent an hour telling us how Pfizer is going to save the world. I’m still not convinced that he wasn’t a drug rep.
So, what have I done in the last five weeks?
I’ve made cakes, I’ve helped campaign for equal rights for LGBT couples, I’ve spent a weekend singing in Giffnock, I’ve arranged to spend one of my empty days in clinical practice and seen some patients, I’ve got bored and actually started researching specialties, I’ve lived in the SL on most weekdays and managed to completely rewrite and revise all of my notes for Block 7 and Block 8, and I’ve still managed to give a presentation on the role of exercise in reducing hypertension and write what I think is a decent essay on doping control tests for performance-enhancing peptide hormones. It has not been a waste of time. I have got other things done and I know that I’m going to be enormously grateful for the time I was able to spend going back through last term’s work. It was just not what I was expecting it to be.